Here we go again. As we’ve all seen before, the centralization versus decentralization pendulum tends to swing with the economic environment. During the Great Recession of 2008-09, it was no surprise to see many businesses rapidly moving toward a more centralized IT model.
But now that we see signs of recovery, it’s no surprise to hear the latest predictions about the end of IT as we know it.
The Corporate Executive Board (CEB) recently released a study, “The Future of Corporate IT,” that boldly predicted that by 2015, the IT function “will bear little resemblance to its current state. Many activities will devolve to business units, be consolidated with other central functions…or be externally sourced.”
In such a future, “fewer than 25 percent of employees currently with IT will remain” and CIOs will “face the choice of expanding to lead a business shared service group, or seeing their position shrink to manage technology delivery.” The end of IT looms, the CEB seems to contend, because business leaders are frustrated with IT’s ability to deliver the business capabilities requested or required.
For a more prescriptive approach to the future of IT leadership, look forward to our CIO Executive Council’s guide to becoming a future-state CIO, due out this fall. (Get a preview of the framework now at council.cio.com/estore/product/future-state-cio.) The Council, a global peer-advisory service with more than 750 members, is urging CIOs to expand beyond operational and turnaround roles to become true business strategists. The CIOs who gain an equal footing at the boardroom table are using IT to create strategic business advantage.
By now, CIOs are accustomed to the never-ending predictions about the dire future of their future roles. But it’s fair to say the IT landscape has changed more rapidly in the past year than ever before. Cloud computing is accelerating. Mobility and social media are dramatically changing customer expectations. The workforce is notably more technology-enabled and demanding (“What, no iPhone app yet?”).
So who would argue with the notion that IT leaders must constantly evolve to drive business innovation and customer value? I’d love to hear your take on this latest spin on “the end of IT.” Drop me a line anytime with your thoughts.